Deep Roots? Behavioral Inhibition and Behavioral Activation System (BIS/BAS) Sensitivity and Entrepreneurship

Daniel A. Lerner (Corresponding Author), Isabella Hatak, Andreas Rauch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    218 Downloads (Pure)


    A growing number of studies suggest a link between disinhibition and entrepreneurship. Separately, psychology literature has theorized and empirically shown that the roots of disinhibition can largely be traced to two psychophysiological systems – the behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and behavioral activation system (BAS). Despite BIS/BAS sensitivity underling constructs linked to venturing (e.g. impulsivity, clinical profiles, personality, motivation), and the existence of validated self-report scales for BIS/BAS operationalization, research has almost entirely yet to examine the connection between BIS/BAS sensitivity and entrepreneurship. We explore whether BIS and BAS sensitivities are related to entrepreneurial action and performance. Two studies are presented, and serve as a basis for further inquiry. Our examination of BIS/BAS (and associated Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory) in entrepreneurship adds to prior research that has largely looked to higher-order constructs. This work further opens and substantiates emerging research in entrepreneurship involving for example impulse-driven action, clinical constructs such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and underlying drivers of individual differences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)107-115
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Business Venturing Insights
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


    • Entrepreneurship
    • Behavioral inhibition
    • Behavioral activation
    • Reinforcement sensitivity theory
    • Impulsivity
    • ADHD
    • Disinhibition
    • Neuroscience


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